Estonia vs Serbia

March 27, 2011
By: John Hansen

Estonia shocked Serbia in front of the empty stands at Marakana in October and the hosts are now looking to do a double and thus remain in contention for the place at the final tournament. Serbia pulled back from a goal down to beat Northern Ireland on Friday and the Eagles desperately need a win in Estonia.

Freezing weather to the rescue

Estonia have been showing some signs of promise over the last few years, but the former Soviet republic remains far away from Europe’s top teams. The Estonians were pretty disappointing during the World Cup qualifiers, although they have shown some improvement in the Euro 2012 quals. Tarmo Ruutli’s side opened the campaign with a narrow win over Faroe Islands before losing at home to Italy. However, they then pulled off a major coup by beating Serbia away from home after profiting from some shocking defensive mistakes of their opponents. The home defeat to Slovenia saw them slip to the fourth place in the standings, but we can expect Northern Ireland to skip them in the standings as well. Team’s recent friendly games and convincing defeats to China and Qatar have shown that Estonia are still not ready to make it to one of the big tournaments, while Friday’s friendly win over Uruguay is a result of the freezing conditions in Talin more than anything else. The hosts are hoping adverse weather conditions will help them against Serbia as well.

Sergei Zenjov is out with a groin injury, but keeper Sergei Pareiko returns to the side.

Serbia back to winning ways

Following the somewhat disappointing performance at the World Cup and the departure of coach Radomir Antic, Serbia were always going to have problems in the Euro 2012 qualifiers, but it seems that the team are slowly returning to the right track. Home defeat to Estonia served as a big blow for the team, just like the crowd trouble that marred the game against Italy, but friendly wins over Bulgaria and Israel showed that the Eagles are close to returning to the right track. Serbia had some problems at the weekend as they hosted Northern Ireland in front of the empty stands, but excellent second-half performance helped them overturn a one-goal deficit and record a very important victory. Serbia now have got to beat Estonia as well, not only to get revenge for the defeat at Marakana but also to improve their position in the group and I believe they have what it takes to win this game, especially as key players Nemanja Vidic and Nikola Zigic are set to return.

Nemanja Vidic and Nikola Zigic should start, just like Milos Ninkovic, whose great cameo role was the main reason behind the great comeback against Northern Ireland.


Estonia were very lucky to win in Serbia and they have since showed nothing that would make us believe they can win this game. Serbia, on the other hand, have shown a lot of improvement since that match and their superior quality should shine despite the difficult playing conditions.

Our prediction: Away win

Odds: 1.90 (9/10)

Bookmaker: Sportingbet

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